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04/03/2003 Entry: "Don't You Know Yet Who I Am?"

Is it raining out or sunny? The weather out my window is the same as always; 68 degrees, white plaster, with a fire extinguisher hanging on it.

I did some really good design work on a project recently, and everyone involved was surprised how well it turned out. Now, I realize they were being complimentary, but I'd like to get to the point in my career where it's no longer surprising when I do excellent work.

I'm always hesitant to write about work. Really, it's not that interesting to anyone but me and the people who work here. I certainly don't write about clients or specifics or trade secrets. Heh, as if I knew any. I know that the company I work for is aware of Weblogs and has, theoretically, instituted a couple on our site. (I believe they're misusing the term, but that's another topic altogether.) But I am also aware that people lose jobs over their personal Web sites, and by even writing this at work it stands as a liability to me.

I know I'm prone to overreaction. My footprint on the Internet is pretty large, and it's nothing more than a Google search that keeps people who know my workplace from finding my personal sites, and vice versa. If it were going to happen, it'd have happened by now. And I'd more likely be fired for reading blogs on company time than anything that I'd actually put in mine.

But I'm reminded because it's Bingo night. Last month I made a mix CD and was pleased with how the labels and title card turned out, so I was showing them to a friend here at work. He asked for a copy, and I was happy to make one for him. It wasn't until after I'd given it to him and he turned around and pointed out this URL on the back. "Oh, that's your Web site," he correctly assumed. Suddenly I froze with panic. Someone at work knows my URL. What was on the front page of my blog right now? Complaints about work? Porn? Kittens wearing hats? (Link via PK.)

Did he read my site? Does he still? Do other people in the company? If I write about the hottie freelancer we have in for the week, will I get comments about it next week? Will I get in trouble for it? (Coincidentally, that's also how I'll be able to tell if the Boyfriend's keeping current with the site. Yep, there's the phone....)

I'm also reminded because one of the Bingo volunteers last month was wearing a Dirty Power tshirt, a band name I recognize from the employee mailing lists here, as one of their band members works here too and promotes their shows. I chatted with him about it and he offered the URL to the band member's LiveJournal. So bored at home, I read some—I even bookmarked it. Now, I read all sorts of sites by people I've never met, but somehow this felt different. I'm not sure this man even knows who I am, yet I can read about his lunch, his band life, his love life. But the difference between this and my other "imaginary friends" is that I could point at him outside at lunch. Suddenly there was a blinding flash of the obvious: Other people at my workplace can see my Web site too, and might be refraining from pointing at me just the same.

I'm not sure if I have an ethical problem about this or not. Is it wrong to know of someone in person and read their public site but not say anything about it? Maybe not. I mean, the rule of thumb is never to publish anything on the Web that you wouldn't be comfortable having broadcast on the evening news. And at least we're not recognized by the people at my company as that guy who auditioned for the sex movie.

OK, back to work.

Replies: 3 comments

Okay, that's another thing we must do if it happens while I'm in town: Ba-da-bingo.

Posted by Jason @ 04/04/2003 09:28 AM PST

I am bummed I missed Bingo last night.

Posted by geno @ 04/04/2003 09:33 AM PST

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT follow the "kittens wearing hats" link while stoned! (Seriously, is it possible to laugh yourself to death?)

Posted by Katrina @ 04/05/2003 08:10 PM PST

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